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Belize Dive Haven?

Discussion in 'Belize' started by maj2, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,875
    607
    113
    Hey Chilly, I just noticed you're now a Staff Member. When did that happen? Does this mean you're our new Moderator?

    Congrats on your promotion. I suppose we're all going to have to be nicer to you now. :cheers:
     
  2. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    19,369
    12,928
    113
    I've been a moderator since 2017. :)
     
  3. James aurich

    James aurich Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Gallup new mexico
    1
    6
    3
    Just returned from a week at Belize dive haven. Staff is friendly and try to help any way they can. We had a group of 50+ people with 45 divers. Dive operation did a good job. Dive shop is not open. Gift shop is not open. Meals were served buffet style at st times. The hotel, gift shop, dive shop , pier to bar, and many other parts of property not open as they are still under construction. They are still at least two years from completion if all goes well but more like 4 or 5 I would think. There are a lot of insects in the morning and at sundown. Take plenty of replent.
    The diving is good, about the same as most of the carabiean .some sites had a lot of fish and healthy coral and sponges. Others need help.
     
  4. scubadada

    scubadada Diver Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Philadelphia and Boynton Beach
    11,407
    6,889
    113
    Hi @James aurich

    Could you discuss the diving a bit more? How many boats, divers per boat, number of guides, divers/guide. What were the dive rules, length of dives. Did you do either of the special trips to Blue Hole and/or Lighthouse Reef? Please confirm the extra cost. If you went, how was the diving there compared to Turneffe? Did you get to the Elbow during your week, if yes, how was it. What was the distribution of sea life like, sharks, turtles, rays, eels, large fish, usual reef fish?

    Thanks for your reply
     
  5. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    938
    780
    93
    Thanks for the report. Glad the diving was good. Do you mind us asking how much you paid for the trip and whether you felt it was decent value for money?

    tnx.
     
  6. maj2

    maj2 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Windsor, Ontario Canada
    506
    228
    43
    I just returned from Belize Dive Haven on Saturday, and can give an update on progress there, a quick review of our trip, and hopefully answer some of the questions from @scubadada.

    We were supposed to be a group of 28, but had 10 cancellations for various factors including but not limited to COVID-19 fears. There was one other guest at the hotel during our stay, so there was a grand total of 19 guests. Apparently, at this time, it is the norm for them to be only booking one group at a time. This will change as more rooms get licensed to open.

    The resort is coming along. Following up from various other reviews, I can confirm that there are now doors on the bathrooms, as well as a good sized shelf and closet bar to hang things. The spa is under construction on the second floor of a building that now houses a gift shop/boutique on the ground floor. Not much stock in the shop at the moment. We did not buy anything. The "dockside bar" is actually the original bar, and the dock and building are all being re-done. They are hoping to have it open in a other year or so. Swim up bar looks about ready to open.

    For the most part, the rooms were lovely. Quite spacious. There is an odd window between the bedroom and the shower, but once steamed up from the shower, there is suitable privacy. Some doors to the hallway have frosted glass panels. Our room did not have this, but some guests had to hang towels on their door to block the hallway light at night.

    Food was pretty good. Not a ton of it, but it was tasty. Usually dinner at night offered a couple of meat choices, a starch (potato or rice), veg and salad. Breakfast was at 7am, lunch at 1pm, snacks around 5:30pm, and dinner at 7pm. All meals were served at The Hacienda, which also housed the bar. Meals used to be served closer to the beach, but were moved to the Hacienda as there were apparently fewer biting bugs there. The bugs were still bad. Most of us got eaten alive.

    The diving was good. The resort has a LOT of boats. We used two of them. We ended up a group of nineteen, and on any given day, there were two or three snorkelling instead of diving. We all went to the site(s) in the same boat, but usually entered the water in two or three smaller groups. Dives were not really time limited, and most dives ran around 60 minutes. My longest was 67 minutes.

    We did go to the Blue Hole. The usual cost is US$190 per person (charged to your room), plus a US$20 cash park fee. This year, they offered the trip at DEMA for US$150 (plus park fee), which was our deal. The Blue Hole dive was to the stalactities at 130ft. After the dive, the boat went to alfmoon Caye to drop off the wait staff and chef so they could start preparing a tasty BBQ chicken lunch. We then dove off of Halfmoon Caye before going back for lunch and to check out the island, bird sanctuary, etc. We then did our third dive at Long Caye before heading back to the resort and arriving around 4:30pm. The second dive sites had lush reefs. Beautiful! Halfmoon Caye featured a couple of reef sharks, a loggerhead turtle and a hawksbill turtle in addition to t the usual reef fish.

    They saved the Elbow for our last day of diving, and it was one of our best dives. A group of 5 spotted eagle rays, several sharks, and even a dolphin.

    I have seen reviews suggesting that they were quick to dive the leeward side at any hint of wind or poor weather. We did not find this at all. On rough days, they would have the boat at the leeward dock, and use the leeward side of the island for a smoother ride before cutting back to the windward side for our dive. All of our dives were on the windward side of the island, with some days being in close to 5ft waves. There was some sea-sickness for a couple of people, but we never felt unsafe diving. Most days, or boat left from the windward side of the island with no issues. All dives were within about 15 minutes of the resort.

    The dive staff and hotel staff were all fantastic.

    There is an alcohol add on that gives you unlimited drinks at the bar for US$150 per week. I did not bother. Mixed drinks were pricey, but soda and local beer was quite reasonable.

    Nitrox was US$15 per tank if I remember correctly.

    Our package was for two dives a day. We were told that a third dive was going to be $50 per dive. I did a third dive almost every day, but was not charged for them. I did not ask them about it... I suspect that I was just lucky.

    Night dives are $100 per person with a minimum of 4 divers. We were only able to muster enough interested people to do a single night dive.

    Did I get value? Yes. Absolutely. We were there on a soft opening discount. To boot, they mistakenly forgot about Canadian exchange, so we essentially got an extra discount due to the exchange rate. I would not count on this happening again. I think that the price that they are talking as a permanent price is going to be a bit steep. Would I pay $3K per person for what we got (plus airfare)? No. Did I get value for the amount that we paid for the soft opening rate? Yes-- even without the exchange rate mixup.

    That's about it... Now back to the 13 remaining days of my 14 day self-isolation period being mandated fro those of returning from out of country during the pandemic.
     
  7. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,875
    607
    113
    Wow. Just wow.

    Thanks for the update/review.
     
    maj2 and chillyinCanada like this.
  8. gjthomas

    gjthomas Garibaldi

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Greensburg, Pa
    2
    0
    1
    I just noticed that they are closed right now due to COVID19. We are scheduled to go in January 2021..... hoping for the best!
    Anyone who has been and will be there before January, please post pictures, your thoughts and anything you think will help all of us!
     
  9. maj2

    maj2 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Windsor, Ontario Canada
    506
    228
    43
    When we left on Saturday, most of the staff was leaving the property at the same time. Just a skeleton staff stayed on site. They said their shutdown was to be 45 days unless extended.
     

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